Giving to Brown

Dean of Admission James S. Miller ’73 Reflects on…

…the importance of need-blind admission

With the advent of need-blind admission at Brown we can now walk into any high school in America and say that if you’ve earned the opportunity, if you’ve earned the right to come to Brown, we’ll provide the resources for you. That’s a very powerful message.

Talent is not a function of socioeconomics: talent is found all over this country and all over this world. —Dean of Admission James S. Miller ’73

…valuing a diverse community

Brown students say over and over again that the most important part of their experience is the people they meet here and what they learn from them. Welcoming students from different backgrounds, experiences, values, and beliefs creates a remarkable synergy, and helps us to create one of the most dynamic communities in higher education in America.

…supporting Brown’s financial aid initiative

Talent is not a function of socioeconomics: talent is found all over this country and all over this world. Students come to Brown out of tremendously varied backgrounds and they do remarkable things. Giving to financial aid, therefore, is not charity. It is an investment in the best students. Finding the most talented, the highest-achieving students we can in this country and giving them the opportunity to come to Brown is very much a hard-headed business decision.

…reducing our students’ debt burdens

The reduction in debt burden was an important step for us for two reasons. One, it was a competitive issue relative to the schools with which we compete for students. Of equal importance is the quality of life. There’s nothing noble about graduating with significant amounts of indebtedness and having to make different career choices, different graduate school plans than your non-financial aid peers. It is an important initiative that will serve our students well in the future.

…transforming lives

This place can not only transform lives, it can transform generations of families. Many students come out of high schools with no enrichment programs and few or no advanced placement courses. However, they have enormous potential: when they get to Brown they take advantage of the resources, the curriculum, and all the opportunities offered them. Over four years they catch up, oftentimes surpassing their peers who have come out of more advantaged backgrounds.

I came to Brown on almost full financial aid. I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity; it really did transform my life. Certainly President Ruth Simmons’ life was also transformed by educational opportunity and she’s done a great deal to transform Brown as well. The transformative power of education—particularly the transformative power of a Brown education—is quite impressive and remarkable to see.

Edited by Catharine Beattie